Blog Posts on Patient Identification in Healthcare

Reduce Neck Pain At Work In 6 Steps

Reduce Neck Pain At Work In 6 Steps

A typical desk job has never done your neck good. Many Australians often experience neck pain or stiff neck due to the sedentary position it requires. You probably feel the strain on your neck after a few hours of continuous work while sitting. Answering the phone by cradling it between your shoulder and ear while typing on the keyboards also provides discomfort somehow. 

Reduce Neck Pain At Work In 6 Steps

Your neck conditions might worsen gradually, as they become sore all the time if you fail to take the necessary steps for prevention. With as little effort as stretching, they can do wonders to make you feel more relaxed and your neck at ease. It’s best not to wait until your neck develops burning pains.

Consider doing the steps below so you can reduce neck pain at work:

Maintain A Good Posture

Having a good posture while working in an office in Queensland and other areas goes a long way for you to keep your neck and spine healthy. The proper position to follow is to sit at your desk, ensuring that your feet touch the floor while your back is against the chair. Place your head in a neutral position, and don’t slouch while working on your desk.

It’s crucial that you don’t round your lower back. One way to avoid slouching is to adjust your chair’s height if you feel it’s too high or low to your liking. This will also enable your thighs to slide down a bit more and position you more comfortably. By remaining in this position, you keep your weight evenly distributed over your lower hips. 

Visit Your Physiotherapist 

In many cases, physiotherapy is used to treat neck pain conditions that have gone from bad to worse. Although this might not be the case for most office workers, fortunately, it’s still best to take a proactive approach to ensure your overall wellbeing. Visiting a Brisbane physiotherapist will be vital in spotting the signs of work-related and occupational diseases. This way, you can treat them earlier than having a more serious neck pain condition. 

An in-depth understanding of working habits is common among professional physiotherapists. They know the nuts and bolts of office working postures, tendencies, symptoms, and possible pain points. In addition, they can identify the factors contributing to these work-related conditions. 

Therefore, it’s best to depend on them so they can prescribe strategies and early treatments for your increasing neck pain at work. With digital health being revolutionized, you can even consult through telehealth via protected communication channels managed by the concerned health professional. 

Stretch And Do A Self-Massage 

While sitting at a desk, range-of-motion stretches can be done quite easily. You can do so even while working. All you have to do is move your head forward, back, and sideways. These are an excellent way to stretch the muscles, tendons, and soft tissues. However, ensure that the stretches don’t produce more pain and strain to your neck.

Another effective practice you can do is massage. Use your hand and fingers to massage the sore spots of your neck deliberately. You may use massage tools and liniments to make them feel calm and relaxed. 

Position Your Computer Screen And Keyboard Properly 

The focal point of the screen should be at nose height when you place the computer monitor in front of you. This should be the proper positioning of your working equipment so you can maintain a good posture. Angling your head downward when watching a monitor that is too low will cause you to put more stress on your neck. Hence, elevate it by using some computer accessories.  

As for the keyboard, it’s best that your elbows and hands can quickly type on them with comfort. The keyboard should be high enough that you won’t have to slouch your shoulders down. Also, place the mouse beside the keyboard and ensure that it’s accessible and comfortable to hold and navigate. It’s crucial to invest in accessories that’ll support your gadgets’ positioning to have a good office and desk set up. 

Go For Ergonomic Office Furniture 

Sitting straight up at a 90-degree angle can sometimes make your body too stiff and sore. This isn’t a comfortable position. It’s best to recline your posture to 20 to 30 degrees more. Find an ergonomic chair that you can easily adjust to recline the backside as well as adjust the height. 

Also, always keep your feet reaching the ground so you’ll have the correct posture. Opt for a chair with a removable armrest just in case you want to let your shoulders and hands down sometimes. 

Set An Alarm To Walk Around The Office 

Ultimately, it’s best to walk around your office to improve your blood circulation, muscles stretch, and bones come into use. By moving around, you can avoid having neck strain and pain. This is incredibly best if you can feel numbness or tightness developing along your body. The thighs, hips, back, spine, and neck usually are the spots that get tight with less movement. 

Getting up and walking around is believed to be good for your body and your blood circulation, so it’s best to do it often. Simply set a reminder alarm that’ll go off at a schedule so you can avoid neck and body pain. 

Conclusion 

While neck pain isn’t something between life and death, it’s still essential to prevent and treat them early on before they become chronic and affect your daily life. With the pointers mentioned above, you can eliminate neck pain and continue working productively in the office. Your health should be prioritized, so visit a physiotherapist early on if you want to strategize more neck exercises, stretches, and improve your body posture.

How Technology Helps Improve Patient Care

How Technology Helps Improve Patient Care

There’s no denying that technology plays a significant role across all industries. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation for many businesses – and health care facilities are no exception. 

How Technology Helps Improve Patient Care

Implementing new tech to improve patient care is nothing new – the health care industry has continuously improved its quality of care by using new tech for years. For example, augmented reality helps patients during treatment sessions. 

Whether it’s an older adult with a cancer diagnosis or a child with the common cold, medical providers consider the quality of care they deliver a top priority. Each patient deserves top-tier treatment no matter the physical or mental challenges they may be facing. 

While patient care is a top priority, digital health tech can also positively impact the rising health costs many people worldwide are facing. Depending on the country, the tech could drive 10%-15% savings in health care costs. 

Here are some specific examples of how technology is leveraged by physicians, nurses, surgeons, and other medical professionals to enhance patient care.

1. Reduced Medical Errors

Medical errors are defined as unintended acts that lead to failures to achieve an intended outcome. While professionals in the health care industry work tirelessly to deliver quality care, it’s challenging to eliminate all instances of medical error. 

For example, in July 2021, a patient at the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center received a kidney transplant intended to be used for someone else. While the patient is recovering and the transplant has not caused harm, the significant error caused the caregivers responsible to be put on administrative leave. 

While the incorrect transplant is an extreme case, medication issues are also considered medical errors. 

Prescribing errors can harm the patient receiving care. Medical alerts, clinical flags, and medication reminders can assist medical professionals when choosing drugs, keeping patients safe in the future. 

Fortunately, solutions exist that reduce medical errors – RightPatient being one of the more effective ones. It is a touchless biometric patient identification platform trusted by several healthcare providers to identify patients accurately across the care continuum – preventing duplicate medical records, patient mix-ups, medical errors, and more. 

2. Enhanced Drug Safety

Doctors are fully responsible for ensuring their patients receive the correct drug and dosage and ensuring medicines won’t interact. Using electronic systems can enhance the safety of prescribing drugs, which naturally improves patient care. 

When patient information is stored in cloud-based solutions, it becomes much easier for prescribers to understand which medications will treat their conditions or disease. It minimizes the chances of miscommunication between prescribers, pharmacies, and patients. 

3. Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring can provide positive outcomes to help patients manage these chronic illnesses, such as heart failure, stroke, COPD, asthma, and hypertension. 

By implementing patient data management systems (PDMS), health care providers can remotely monitor a patient’s condition and interpret gathered data to decide on the correct medical approach needed for treatment.

PDMS technology helps physicians with decision-making and integrates with existing patient medical record systems. In other words, physicians spend more time providing patients with quality care rather than charting or completing paperwork. 

4. Accessibility to Virtual Care

When more people spent time indoors due to the pandemic, accessing traditional health care appointments became more challenging. Patients were forced to weigh the risks of exposure while booking appointments. 

As a result, telehealth apps became more prevalent, allowing patients to visit their doctors via teleconference or phone call. Patients could rest assured that they could receive medical care from home, a game-changer for the health care sector.

5. Improved Lines of Communication

Technology allows physicians to communicate more effectively with patients regarding their medical issues. Patient portals are increasing in popularity, and people can now check their medical records, contact their doctors, and book appointments digitally. 

Patient portals help improve engagement, which can determine the success of outcomes. The more engaged a patient is, the more likely they will receive quality care and take hold of whatever medical conditions they may be suffering from. 

6. Increased Collaboration Among Physicians

Patient care is improved when physicians work together. For example, virtual conferences come in handy if doctors are in different time zones. 

Relying on technology to bridge the gap between doctors is a crucial component of the health care industry. There’s evidence to suggest there’s a significant nurse shortage in the country, so increasing the number of collaboration tools within the health care sector can potentially make up for it.

The Future of Tech in Patient Care

These are only a few examples of how tech is being leveraged to provide quality patient care. More technologies must be used by the health care sector, as many people rely on a dependable facility to attend to their medical needs.

As Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technologies continue to develop, it’s only a matter of time until new applications emerge in the health care sector. All medical professionals can use new tech to improve the care they deliver to patients across the board.

RightPatient-combats-medical-ID-theft

Preventing Medical ID Theft Can Combat the Effects of Healthcare Data Breaches

We talk about a lot of healthcare topics regularly on our blog but the most common one is healthcare data breaches. That’s because hackers are targeting healthcare providers every day to steal patient information – leading to much too frequent data breaches. Unfortunately, today is no different as we take a look at some recent data breaches and how some of the hospitals are responding. However, the consequences of most data breaches, medical ID theft, CAN be mitigated with accurate patient identification, ensuring safety in healthcare facilities – more on that later.

Preventing-medical-ID-theft-with-RightPatient

Healthcare data breaches update

Over 3 million patients’ information was exposed this August

It’s frightening how both the number of data breaches and patients at risk from them keep on increasing. Just last month, over 3.3 million patients’ confidential and sensitive information was exposed due to data breaches at hospitals and health systems, as per HHS’ breach portal.

Out of them, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System identified around 1.4 million patients’ information at risk, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada saw 1.3 million, and over 637,000 patients’ information was compromised at UNM Health. 

Over 600,000 patients’ information exposed 

DuPage Medical Group identified unauthorized activity on its computer network – resulting in shutting down access to it. However, around 600,000 patients’ information was put at risk due to unauthorized activity. Information such as names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, and diagnosis codes was exposed. As is standard with healthcare providers, the group is providing complimentary services to the affected patients. 

More than 171,000 patients at risk of being medical ID theft victims

Metro Infectious Disease Consultants, a physician group of over 100 physicians, identified that over 171,000 patients’ data was exposed due to hacker(s) breaching employee email accounts. After a thorough investigation, the physician group came up with the aforementioned number, secured the employee email accounts, and saw that names, date of birth, Social Security numbers, and medical information was exposed. It also announced that the affected patients will be offered complimentary services.

RightPatient-combats-medical-ID-theft

Around 12,000 patients’ information exposed due to a phishing attack 

One of the most common methods used by hackers is phishing, and that’s how one of them hacked Revere Health and got access to around 12,000 patients’ information. To prevent it from happening further, Revere Health is sending “phishing” emails to test their employees and provide the ones who click on it with training – quite an innovative approach.

Medical ID theft is the common consequence of data breaches

Hackers can sell stolen patient information for up to $1000 in the black market, which is why it’s so lucrative for them and the reason for so many healthcare data breaches we read about every day.

Fraudsters buy these stolen patient records from the hackers and then get healthcare services using the victims’ information, but there’s more to it. 

Since the fraudsters are being “treated” using the medical records of the victims, the EHRs contain someone else’s information, rendering them corrupt, dangerous, and unusable. If these corrupt records are not prevented or detected immediately, then the actual patient will be receiving the wrong medical care – making it extremely dangerous for them. Moreover, the patients will be receiving bills for healthcare services they never got.

Healthcare providers, on the other hand, might get hit with lawsuits, not receive the payment, and face patient safety incidents.

While data breaches seem inevitable, the most common consequence (medical ID theft) can be mitigated with RightPatient – improving patient safety in the process.

RightPatient prevents medical ID theft in real-time

One of the biggest reasons why fraudsters get away with committing medical identity theft is because most hospitals and health systems cannot ensure accurate patient identification.  Fortunately, RightPatient is a touchless patient ID platform that has a vast amount of experience identifying patients accurately and can prevent medical identity theft in real-time.

During the registration process, patients only need to look at the camera – RightPatient attaches a photo of the patient with their EHR. When the fraudster arrives to access services, they’ll need to go through the same process, and since they are not the actual patient of the hospital, their EHR will not be verified. The platform will alert the registration team that the fraudster actually isn’t the patient – preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

RightPatient has been successfully preventing medical identity theft, protecting millions of patient records across different hospitals, and ensuring patient safety for years. If you want to do the same at your healthcare facility, contact us now to learn more about how we can help you.

6 Healthcare Innovations That Has Benefited Mankind in Recent Years

6 Healthcare Innovations That Has Benefited Mankind in Recent Years

Betterment and new technology have made health care superior in recent years. Healthcare IT has advanced since the invention of the microscope and ultrasound devices. Furthermore, it has come a long way tenfold during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The advances have been evident with the rise of the aging population, mobile phone internet, and early disease detection. These technological feats spurred education, reskilling, and continuous learning for the medical industry practitioners and workforce. Here are six medical technology innovations that we are fortunate to have at our disposal should the need arise.

6 Healthcare Innovations That Has Benefited Mankind in Recent Years

Drug development

The invention of several safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in a short time is one of the most remarkable feats in medicine. Pharmaceutical companies collaborated for rapid drug development as a giant leap of faith for humankind to end the pandemic. Medical tests are fast-tracked with the help of online and virtual clinical trials that paved the way for more extensive group sampling. 

Robotic surgery

Robotics has been making waves since the 1980s and has grown exponentially since. In this day and age, nanobots can be injected into the bloodstream to identify diseases. Thus, it aids in both diagnosis and prevention. Robotic surgery has also been paired with laser surgery like the Laser-Assisted Situ Keratomileusis.

LASIK eye surgery is a famous laser refractive surgery procedure to correct vision. It is a common and long-term alternative to glasses and contact lenses. In LASIK surgery, a specialized cutting laser changes the shape of the cornea to improve vision.

Several people find glasses a nuisance, and prolonged use of contact lenses may place an individual at risk of dry eye flares due to irritation and debris. Dry eye flares lead to severe conditions like inflammation. Prescription eye drops such as Eysuvis can quickly relieve the symptoms of dry eye flares. These prescription eye drops can offer a solution to discomfort and chronic pain. Careful diagnostics and assessment are needed to develop a long-term eye care solution like LASIK. Dry eye diagnosis and treatments have come a long way and utilize new technology for eye protection and comfort.

Cancer immunotherapy

One of the most valuable and promising areas of medicine today is immunotherapy. It works by curing previously dead-end diseases like cancer by altering the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells that reduce tumors and their symptoms. 

Telemedicine

Telemedicine was probably one of the good things we got from the COVID-19 crisis. A bulk of healthcare facilities and organizations fortified their telehealth system to address the need for medical advice thru the telephone and online. This advancement paved the way for virtual patient visits to protect against infection and prevent hospital crowding. 

While many experts are worried about issues such as medical identity theft during virtual visits, a touchless patient identification platform like RightPatient can prevent such cases. After scheduling appointments, patients only need to provide a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license – the platform compares the photos and validates the actual patients and red-flags fraudsters, preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

Nanomedicine

The application of nanotechnology in medicine has improved diagnosis, sensing, imaging, and medical logistics procedures. However, the most outstanding achievement to date is the nanotech drug that attacks viruses and bacteria.

Digital assistants

Digital assistants are taking on a significant role in healthcare, highly similar to how Siri and Alexa changed our lives. These digital healthcare assistants play ambient listening and recording and natural language processing in medical data capturing and analysis.

The global pandemic hastens healthcare technological advancements and innovations that ensued promising procedures, equipment, vaccines, and medicines in the last year. These innovations will give birth to better healthcare IT landscape that is beneficial in the post-pandemic world.

RightPatient-prevents-EHR-mix-ups

Electronic Medical Record Errors Are Preventable with Positive Patient Identification

We’ve been talking about several topics such as medical identity theft, duplicate medical records, COVID-19, revenue cycle management, data breaches, and more. However, the one point we keep coming back to is electronic medical record errors. This has been a cause of concern among healthcare providers and patients, but it doesn’t end there. The consequences of medical record errors extend to insurance providers, healthcare staff members, physicians, and even the patients’ family members!

RightPatient-prevents-EHR-mix-ups

What many fail to grasp is that most of these errors are not caused by the EHR systems themselves, but are caused by external factors. One of the foremost reasons is that there’s no effective, standardized patient identifier present. This alone leads to medical record mix-ups, duplicates, and other errors – more on that later.

Let’s take a look at EHR error statistics, the consequences caused by them, and how positive patient identification can mitigate them.

Statistics regarding electronic medical record errors

A recent study focused on the frequency and types of EHR issues perceived by patients which shed light on a number of insightful statistics. Over 136,000 patients received the invitation to participate, and over 29,000 patients responded. 22,889 viewed 1 or more notes within one year. Out of these 22,889 patients, 21% (4,830) of them witnessed mistakes. Out of these 4,830 patients, 43% said that the mistakes were serious, 32.4% said that it was somewhat serious, and 9.9% said that it was very serious.

When asked about what kind of issues they saw within their EHRs, the most common response was diagnosis errors. For instance, many saw that a disease they didn’t have was listed in the EHR! Can you imagine the consequences of this? 

Others witnessed wrong medical history, medication errors, and so on.

Most of these issues, if not all of them, can be traced back to the lack of accurate patient identification – let’s see how. 

How patient misidentification creates electronic medical record errors

It’s quite simple – since there’s no effective and standardized patient identifier present in the U.S. healthcare system, EHR issues are bound to occur. An EHR system houses thousands and can even hold millions of medical records. It’s quite natural to have many patients with the same name, especially if it’s a common one.

Electronic-Medical-Record-Errors-reventable-with-Positive-Patient-Identification

Now, if a patient named “James Smith” turns up, the EHR user will see that there are several medical records associated with the same name. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that the patient’s record is under the same name – it might be saved as “Jim Smith”.

Also, most EHRs provide basic search functionality, and with the registration area being a high-pressure environment, the EHR user needs to select the appropriate medical record quickly. If the hospital isn’t using an effective patient identifier, the registrar either creates an entirely new medical record or chooses the wrong one – creating the potential for medical record errors. 

While that’s how patient misidentification and electronic medical record errors are related, let’s take a look at some of the consequences.

Consequences of EHR errors and patient misidentification

EHR errors, bolstered by inaccurate patient identification:

  • Increase duplicates and overlays within the EHR system
  • Jeopardize patient safety
  • Hamper patient data integrity
  • Lead to patient record mix-ups
  • Create medication administration errors
  • Increase denied claims
  • Cause patients to go through repeated lab tests
  • Increase hospital readmissions
  • Create detrimental patient outcomes 

It’s not very surprising that patient identification errors have been occurring for a long time, and only a handful of healthcare providers have been proactive regarding preventing such issues within their facilities. These responsible healthcare providers have been using RightPatient to prevent such issues by ensuring accurate patient identification.

RightPatient ensures positive patient identification

RightPatient is the number one choice of leading healthcare providers – they’ve been using our touchless biometric patient identification platform to protect millions of patient records. 

RightPatient is easy to use and becomes a part of the EHR workflow. During registration, the platform requires patients to simply look at the camera – the platform takes a photo of the patient and essentially “locks” the EHR with it. Already registered patients then only need to look at the camera – RightPatient runs a search to match the live photo with the saved one – it’s that easy!

RightPatient has a vast amount of experience with several diverse hospitals, making it a clear choice to ensure accurate patient identification, prevent medical record errors, and more.

Are YOU preventing medical record errors successfully at your healthcare facility?

RightPatient-protects-medical-records-even-after-data-breaches

Protection of Medical Records is Critical as Data Breaches Appear Unstoppable

Healthcare data breaches are nothing new, especially in the U.S. Even before the pandemic, data breaches were common among hospitals, and why wouldn’t they be? With hackers selling one stolen medical record for up to $1000, medical records can be a lucrative business. However, since the pandemic, data breaches have become significantly more common. But there are some factors to consider in this context. For instance, because of the pandemic, healthcare providers understandably had a lot on their hands – a surge of COVID-19 patients, adapting to the rapidly changing environment, setting up virtual healthcare, and so on. Hackers took advantage of this situation and focused their attacks on healthcare facilities. Let’s look at the problem, explore why it is still occurring, and determine how the protection of medical records IS possible with positive patient identification.

RightPatient-protects-medical-records-even-after-data-breaches

Recent data breaches show the importance of protecting medical records

Cyberattack forces a hospital to go back to analog methods! 

That’s not a piece of news we hear every day, is it? Well, the information of a whopping 1.4 million patients was exposed due to an incident back in June at St. Joseph’s/Candler. After detecting suspicious activity, the health system decided to shut down the IT systems, using paper documentation to mitigate the effects of the attack. However, things are better now, as their IT systems have been mostly restored. 

Information of more than 637,000 patients exposed

The attack led to unauthorized individual(s) accessing New Mexico Health’s network, compromising information for more than 637,000 patients. Names, addresses, birthdates, health insurance information, medical record numbers, were among the data accessed by the unauthorized party. The health system has been providing complimentary services to the affected patients after notifying them of the attack. 

All of this goes to show how important the protection of medical records is, especially if hospitals want to avoid huge losses in addition to those caused by the pandemic. Fortunately, RightPatient can prevent fraudsters from tampering with EHRs and even prevent medical identity theft in real-time – more on that later. For now, let’s see why data breaches are still occurring. 

Why do hospitals fail with the protection of medical records? 

There are quite a few reasons why data breaches still wreak havoc across healthcare facilities. 

Firstly, most healthcare facilities have extremely backdated security solutions or very basic (not robust) modern solutions.

Secondly, their IT infrastructure is outdated – and security relies on good IT infrastructure. 

Protection-of-medical-records-with-RightPatient

Thirdly, most facilities have not updated their systems in view of the recent data breaches. In other words, they don’t learn from the mistakes of others. 

There are, however, other external factors that limit the effectiveness of cybersecurity teams. The biggest issue they face is budgetary – generally, cybersecurity receives a very meager portion of the hospital’s budget. Thus, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t ramp up their cybersecurity measures. 

Moreover, hackers are coming up with new and innovative ways to steal patient information and disrupt hospital operations. As previously mentioned, hospitals and health systems are prime targets because hackers get significant amounts of money by stealing patient information and selling it on the black market. 

All in all, healthcare providers cannot be blamed entirely for becoming targets of data breaches – there are both external and internal forces that make them inevitable.

However, while data breaches are inevitable and seemingly unstoppable, their most common consequence, medical identity theft, IS preventable. 

RightPatient ensures the protection of medical records

There are several reasons why RightPatient is the leading touchless biometric patient identification platform. It ensures accurate identification of registered patients at all times. The platform is extremely easy to use for both patients and hospital employees – it becomes part of the EHR workflow. RightPatient is also safe, hygienic, and prevents HAIs (hospital-acquired infections), as it is touchless. However, it also prevents medical identity theft in real-time. 

When fraudsters attempt to pass themselves off as patients, RightPatient will establish that the fraudster does not match any saved medical records, simply by using the face – thus preventing medical identity theft. 

Several healthcare providers have added millions to their bottom line thanks to RightPatient. When will YOU make the move to the leading touchless patient ID platform?

Patient-Verification-mitigates-hospital-losses

Patient Verification Helps Hospitals Deal with Decreasing Revenue as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Hospitals and health systems are constantly being challenged by the pandemic. Sure, COVID-19 has affected virtually every business – many organizations have declared bankruptcy while others have shuttered their doors. However, most, if not all of these organizations, had their employees work from home. Healthcare providers, on the other hand, had to face unprecedented challenges head-on, such as frontline healthcare teams risking their lives, losing billions of dollars, patient verification issues, data breaches, and more.

Patient-Verification-mitigates-hospital-losses

Unfortunately, it looks like the battle with COVID-19 is far from over for healthcare providers. With the Delta variant once again wreaking havoc, caregivers are experiencing razor-thin margins. That being said, accurate patient verification CAN prevent many issues, helping hospitals survive this challenging period. Let’s take a look at a few stats that show how concerning the new variant is and how positive patient identification can help caregivers.

Some recent statistics that show a rise in margins and expenses 

While things were definitely getting better with millions being vaccinated across the U.S. and businesses slowly opening up, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has struck back with full force. While healthcare providers have been facing lower losses and improved margins when compared to the first half of 2020, a new report sheds light on many facts. While many indicators show that things are going in the right direction, some show that the effects of COVID-19 are far from over.

The “median operating margin index” in June was 2.8%, excluding funding from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relied, and Economic Security) Act. When taking funding into account, it was 4.3%.

What do these numbers mean for hospitals and health systems? Well, it’s an increase of almost 90% (excluding CARES Act Funding) or 48.7% (including the funding) when compared to the first half of 2020. All of these numbers are based on 900 hospitals that have participated monthly for the last three years. 

When it comes to patient volumes, it’s a mixed bag. Patient volumes were higher when compared to 2020, but lower than they were before the pandemic. For those who want specifics, discharges between January and June of 2021 were 10.1% higher than in the first half of 2020, but when compared to the first half of 2019, patient volumes are down 4.4%. A similar trend can be seen for ER visits in hospitals, i.e. higher than in the first half of 2020 but lower than in the first half of 2019.

Accurate-patient-verification-with-RightPatient

Fortunately, the revenue of hospitals and health systems has increased compared to both 2020 and 2019! According to the same report mentioned above, this is because of outpatient visits. “Gross operating revenue,” excluding CARES Act funding for January to June of this year, was 18.2% higher than the same period of 2020 and 7.9% higher than the same period of 2019.

But all of these statistics look good for hospitals, right?

Well, while all of these do look good, expenses have also increased – affecting margins significantly. The first half of 2021 saw an 8.5% rise in expenses when compared to the first half of last year, and an increase of almost 10% when compared to the first half of 2019. 

While margins are increasing, expenses are increasing as well

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over – the Delta variant has reached the U.S. and has been in the news for the past few weeks. While healthcare providers have opened their doors to regular patients, COVID-19 cases are spiking once again, and this might be detrimental to hospital margins according to an official associated with the study mentioned above. 

Hospitals need to identify ways to reduce losses, improve patient safety, and avoid unwanted incidents that hurt the bottom line. But how can patient verification help?

How patient verification helps improve hospital margins

Accurate patient identification has been a topic of discussion for several years now, and identification errors have also given rise to a number of studies.

Accurate patient identification helps

  • Prevent medical record errors such as duplicate medical records and overlays
  • Prevent medical identity theft in real-time
  • Protect patient data integrity
  • Reduce denied claims by ensuring accurate, consistent information within medical records
  • Prevent medical errors that might lead to patient safety incidents
  • Avoid dangerous patient mix-ups, including transplant mix-ups
  • Ensure CMS compliance by sending out proper e-notifications to appropriate caregivers
  • Improve patient outcomes
  • Reduce hospital readmissions

All of the above, when considered together, can drastically reduce losses and improve a hospital’s margin. We know this because our leading patient identification platform has been helping several healthcare providers for years.

Patient verification made easy with RightPatient

A number of healthcare providers have chosen RightPatient to manage their patients’ medical records. In a post-pandemic world, RightPatient’s touchless patient ID platform makes the most sense, as it keeps everyone safe by preventing physical contact (when compared to other methods of identification). 

RightPatient reduces denied claims, improves patient safety, prevents duplicates and overlays, and prevents patient identity theft – boosting the bottom line of hospitals. 

How are YOU planning to reduce losses and improve margins at your healthcare facility?

4 Tips On Finding The Best Live In Care Services

4 Tips On Finding The Best Live In Care Services 

Having a senior loved one means going the extra mile in making sure they’re well taken care of all the time. As their family, you want to give them the best personal care possible. However, as your life responsibilities start to become just as demanding, you’ll reach a point where you’ll realize the best thing to do is to entrust their welfare in a nursing or elderly care facility. 

4 Tips On Finding The Best Live In Care Services

But before you do so, take some time to consider all your options first. Have you thought of live in care services for your aging family member before? It’s a long-term solution that might be a better choice for both you and your elderly loved one. 

How To Find The Best Live In Care Services For Your Elderly Loved Ones

Live in care has grown pretty popular lately compared to conventional care homes. This is because seniors prefer to spend their later years in their own homes instead of staying in a facility where they may not feel comfortable or at home at all. 

With live in care, patients don’t need to leave the confines of their own house. The care provider shall be the one to move in and live with the senior person so they can take care of them and help with their needs around the clock. 

Your elderly will still have the freedom to move around the house, but this time, there’ll be a professional caregiver to look after them. You no longer need to worry about how they’re doing or if they’ve taken their medicines already.  

Sounds great, right? But of course, you can’t just let some stranger live in your elder’s house. You need to carefully select the right live in care service that you can entrust your loved one to. Here are some tips you might find helpful: 

  • Identify The Needs Of Your Elderly 

Before you start looking for the best live in care service, you need to know first if your loved one requires special care or a certain level of mobility. Knowing such information will help identify what to look for in a care service. Do they have any medical condition or were they involved in an accident in the past that led to their restricted mobility? 

It’s critical to have such knowledge because, for example, your elderly have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. That means you’ll need to look for an at-home senior healthcare agency that can medically and professionally handle patients with the mentioned conditions. Be sure to mention their current condition to the carer or agency you’re speaking to so they can provide the right kind of service that your senior loved one requires. 

  • Look Into Their Experience 

Most of the best live in care services have been in the industry for several years already, thus acquiring enough experience to handle the job. Once you start scouting for the best care provider for your aging family member, ask how long they’ve been providing such services. Although it’s not really a hard rule for someone to be around for quite a long time, it’s one factor to consider knowing that years of experience could translate to skills and expertise in the field. 

Ask for their proof of experience. If they have a website, you can check the reviews and recommendations from their previous and present patients. That way, you can have an idea of what kind of service they give to their clients. 

  • Check Their Qualifications 

Care facilities may be required to present proof of their comprehensive training depending on where they’re from. Different local governments and regulatory agencies dealing with elderly health grant different certifications and the like to individuals and organizations to serve as proof that they meet set standards and guidelines in properly administering senior care. 

To ensure the safety of your elderly, you also need to perform a comprehensive background check. A healthcare worker is said to be required to pass such a test to be granted a license and work with patients, particularly those working to care for vulnerable adults and children. 

  • Request For A Trial Shift 

Don’t get too excited to get someone without conducting a trial shift first. The trial shift is like getting a sample of a product or service that you’re about to buy. With a trial shift from your preferred elderly care professional, you’ll closely see how they work and how the interaction between them and your elderly will be. 

Listen to your gut and observe carefully how the nurse or caregiver will move around the house. You’ll know it in your heart if the person is compassionate and pleasant to be around. Ask your senior loved on how they feel about their new companion at home. Know if they’re comfortable being with them during most times of the day.  

Conclusion 

Finding the best live in care services for your senior family relative is no easy feat. It’s not something as simple as buying a new handbag that you can return if you didn’t like it, and there’ll be no harm done. In this case, your elderly family member’s well-being is at stake.  

So, don’t hurry. Take your time and pay close attention to the abovementioned factors you need to consider. It might also help to ask for your elderly’s input when making a decision.

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Improving Patient Safety in Virtual & In-Person Visits is a Must as COVID Cases Spike

While it seemed like the pandemic was waning in the U.S., it looks like it’s far from over. Unfortunately, the delta variant is here to wreak havoc once again – just look at the current scenario of the COVID-19 spikes across the states. The delta variant has even forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its guidance on wearing masks. CDC has once again asked even fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks, a decision that has sparked backlash and confusion among the general public. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the current situation, what hospitals are doing now, and how improving patient safety during patient visits (both in-person and virtual) is crucial – something that RightPatient can help with.

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COVID cases are increasing once again

Florida has seen a huge spike – over 21,000 cases in a single day, and this is the highest since the pandemic! Earlier, the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day was slightly over 19,000 for the state.

Florida has also set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations – around 10,207 patients who were infected with the notorious virus. The previous record of the state was 10,170 patients per day.

Moreover, in San Fransico, around 233 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19, most of who were fully vaccinated. 

In Massachusetts, there was a new surge of COVID-19 patients, and almost three-fourths of them were fully vaccinated! 

Vaccinations are increasing too, fortunately!

Amongst all of the havoc caused by this new COVID-19 surge, vaccinations are fortunately increasing too. Around 800,000 people were vaccinated on July 25th – the highest doses in a single day in weeks. 

How are hospitals responding?

Hospitals, especially in the U.S., never seem to catch a break, do they? 

Well, many hospitals, if not all, are facing an increased number of patients – both COVID-19 and otherwise. Unfortunately, the non-COVID-19 cases are due to COVID-19 itself, ironically. These are the patients who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get healthcare services since the pandemic began. 

For instance, according to an official at Stanford Healthcare, they are completely full and are “outstripping” beds every day. These include both COVID and non-COVID cases. However, the non-COVID-19 ones need urgent care as they are quite ill. They delayed elective procedures themselves, or their dates were pushed back, due to, you guessed it, the pandemic.

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Many hospitals, as a result, are once again, working hard towards improving patient safety. Healthcare providers are either postponing or reducing non-emergency and elective surgeries at their facilities. Others are changing their visitation policies, such as restricting in-person patient visitors (barring exceptional cases), allowing virtual visits, minimizing patient visitors, and so on. 

As for providing healthcare services, the pandemic already showed how telehealth can be used to care for non-COVID-19 patients – the latter can just be in their homes and avail healthcare services. In fact, many healthcare providers are incentivizing patients for using telehealth during the surge. Lee Health, for instance, is waiving its charges for certain virtual visits. 

However, the doors are still open for critical non-COVID-19 patients, and for improving patient safety, hospitals need to implement strategies that eliminate physical contact, prevent infection control issues, and improve patient outcomes

RightPatient can help with all of that, fortunately.

Improving patient safety with RightPatient

RightPatient is the leading touchless biometric patient ID platform used by several healthcare providers. However, other than ensuring positive patient identification, using RightPatient benefits hospitals and patients in several ways.

RightPatient is perfect for the post-pandemic world as it identifies patients accurately safely and hygienically.

For appointment scheduling and virtual visits, patients only need to provide a selfie and a photo of their driver’s license during the registration process – RightPatient does the rest. For in-person visits, patients only need to look at the camera during the registration or verification process.

All of this ensures that the accurate medical record is selected every time, all without requiring the patient to touch any screens or devices – reducing infection control issues.

RightPatient also ensures that accurate information is fed into the appropriate EHRs each time – boosting patient data integrity, improving patient outcomes, and more. 

RightPatient ensures accurate patient identification, is touchless, improves patient outcomes, prevents patient safety incidents, and reduces infection control issues for everyone in the facilities.

How are YOU improving patient safety at your healthcare facility?

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How to Protect Patient Information as Data Breaches Become a Topmost Concern

We’ve talked about data breaches in hospitals and health systems more times than we can count. Unfortunately, these unwanted incidents just keep on happening, and even when the pandemic was at its peak, hackers didn’t stop. Thus, it isn’t a surprise that many healthcare executives are wary about cyberthreats that loom in the dark, just biding their time and waiting to attack more hospitals and steal patient information. That being said, let’s take a look at some recent cyberthreats faced by hospitals, what healthcare execs are saying, and how to protect patient information even if there is a data breach.

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Most healthcare experts are worried about cyber threats

Let’s take a look at some of the recent worrying trends in health IT, according to some respected healthcare executives. 

Half of them stated that the frequency of cyber-attacks on healthcare facilities is one of their primary concerns now – let’s explore the issue in detail.

Out of these execs, one of them expects that this will continue to be a huge problem for the foreseeable future – a worrying but accurate prediction, unfortunately.

Another exec stated that such cyber-attacks put patient data, arguably one of the most sensitive pieces of information available within hospitals, at huge risk. We’re inclined to agree, as most data breaches end up with hackers stealing patient information and selling it to fraudsters who commit medical identity theft down the line. Many caregivers, as a result, are searching for answers to the billion-dollar question – how to protect patient information. 

Another exec stated that cyberattacks are rapidly evolving as hackers come up with innovative ways to attack and lock or steal patient information – something quite challenging to keep up with.

One of the execs that is worried about cyber-attacks stated that hackers and these issues hinder them from doing their jobs properly, which is to care for their patients. He also stated that effective cybersecurity practices and far more assistance are required to tackle cybersecurity and keep costs in check. 

Another of these execs predicts that more hospitals and health systems will be focused on improving some aspects such as better integration between platforms, patient consumerization, and strategies that help with cybersecurity efforts. 

However, not all healthcare executives chose cyber-attacks as their primary worries.

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Others chose:

  • The boom of startups that give unrealistic expectations, taking up a lot of money from investors.
  • Mergers and acquisitions.
  • Mandates about sharing health information that are quite unclear and might be detrimental.
  • Clinician burnout due to EHR coding, among other issues. 
  • Ensuring equity during telehealth visits.

While all of them are quite valid concerns, the biggest concern is how to protect patient information effectively – healthcare data breaches are occurring as we speak. 

Hospitals must protect patient information effectively as data breaches are rampant

On the 15th of April, a phishing attempt was successful – unauthorized individual(s) got access to login credentials of an employee of Orlando Family Physicians. After a thorough investigation, it was found that three other employee accounts were accessed. While the access has been revoked, over 447,000 patients were exposed, such as names, health insurance data, Social Security numbers, and more. This is just a classic case of data breaches – something that has been repeating itself for several years in many hospitals and health systems.

Fortunately, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, doing something about protecting patient data and preventing medical identity theft IS possible – let’s see how to protect patient information even if there is a data breach. 

How to protect patient information with RightPatient

RightPatient is the leading touchless patient identification platform trusted by responsible hospitals and health systems for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures accurate patient identification starting from appointment scheduling and at any touchpoint across the care continuum. Secondly, it is easy-to-use, safe, and hygienic, as the interactions are contactless – something that is extremely valuable in a post-pandemic world. Thirdly, it protects patient data and blocks fraudsters during identity verification – preventing medical identity theft in real-time.

During the registration process, the patient just needs to look at the camera – the photo taken is attached to their medical record, essentially “locking” it from being meddled with by fraudsters. When the patient returns for future visits, all the patient needs to do is look at the camera – RightPatient automatically runs a search and presents the appropriate EHR when it finds a match between the saved photo and the patient’s live image. Any fraudster attempts will be red-flagged by RightPatient during this process – stopping medical identity theft in its tracks.

How are YOU protecting your patients’ information?